In a Pyongyang restaurant, don't ever ask for a doggie bag.
Endless praise and adoration, limitless abnegation and abjection of self; a celestial North Korea.
Any critique of realism must begin with a sober assessment of the horrors of peace.
What if, I never tire of asking, we said 'Secret Council' instead of the archaic and therefore cuddly 'Privy Council'?
Don't write in to ask whether I would prefer Gingrich to Clinton. Ask, rather, whether Clinton prefers Gingrich to you. Go triangulate yourself.
Among the privileges of being a superpower, the right and the ability to make a local quarrel into a global one ranks very high.
In effect, nobody who is not from the losing classes has ever been thrust into a death cell in these United States.
There is no such thing as notoriety in the United States these days, let alone infamy. Celebrity is all.
How is the United States at once the most conservative and commercial AND the most revolutionary society on Earth?
Nihil humanum a me alienum puto, said the Roman poet Terence: 'Nothing human is alien to me.' The slogan of the old Immigration and Naturalization Service could have been the reverse: To us, no aliens are human.
How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the land question in Zimbabwe is the single most decisive one.
The few heroic sluts on this great working-girl turf.
There is no reason at all why there aren't enough people to guard New Orleans and to help stabilise Baghdad.
Authors who moan with praise for their editors always seem to reek slightly of the Stockholm syndrome.
Take the risk of thinking for yourself.
What do you most value in your friends?
Their continued existence.
We live only a few conscious decades, and we fret ourselves enough for several lifetimes.
Happiness is fleeting and life is brief, but we know that, nonetheless, life can be savored and that happiness, even of the ecstatic kind, is available to us.
Your least favorite virtue, or nominee for the most overrated one? Faith. Closely followed--in view of the overall shortage of time--by patience.
The secular argument, or the liberal argument, is to as much as possible remove taboos so things do not become unmentionable; to let some air into the discussion.
I don't consider myself to be that credulous.
The fact is: It's true what they say about the United States. It is a land of opportunity. It is too various to get bored with it.
I do not believe any of the statistical claims that are made about public opinion. I don't see why anybody does.
I've been to Uganda and to North Korea and to Eritrea, countless horror spots around the world.
I'm terrified of losing my voice.
I worked out early on to give up things I couldn't do well at all.
I joined a small but growing post-Trotskyite Luxembourgist sect.
Littera scripta manet -- 'The written word will remain'. That's true, but it won't be that much comfort to me.
A speech idiosyncrasy, in the same way as an air quote, is really justifiable only if it's employed very sparingly and if the user consciously intends to be using it.
In the grip of a neurological disorder, I am fast losing control of words even as my relationship with the world has been reduced to them.
I think I write in a fairly self-confident manner.
The people who tend to raise antiwar slogans will do so generally when it's American or British interests involved.
I used to wish there was a useful term for those of us who thought American power should be used to remove psychopathic dictators.
My children, to the extent that they have found religion, have found it from me, in that I insist on at least a modicum of religious education for them.
My dear wife has, I would say, probably never opened a religious book, and seems to be one of those people to whom the whole idea is utterly remote and absurd.
I don't think souls or bodies can be changed by incantation. Or anything else by the way.
If you can talk, you can write.
I have nowhere claimed nor even implied that unbelief is a guarantee of good conduct or even an indicator of it.
I think the materialist conception of history is valid.
I'm not that keen on the idea of being unconscious.
I mean, what would I be doing if I couldn't write? But that fortunately hasn't proved to be the case and I can read any day. I still read a lot, and I can write any day, but much more slowly and fewer words.
Read with care, George Orwell's diaries, from the years 1931 to 1949, can greatly enrich our understanding of how Orwell transmuted the raw material of everyday experience into some of his best-known novels and polemics.
No school of philosophy has ever solved this question of whether being determines consciousness or the other way around. It may be a false antithesis.
Religion is not going to come up with any new arguments.
I'm here as a product of process of evolution, which doesn't make very many exceptions. And which rates life relatively cheaply.
I retain what's interesting to me, but I don't have a lot of strategic depth.
I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness.
I took part in what was actually the last eruption of Marxist internationalism.
One of the many problems with the American left has been its image as something rather too solemn, mirthless, herbivorous, dull, monochrome, righteous, and boring.
Only the aspirants for president are fool enough to believe what they read in the newspapers.
I make preparations both to live and to die every day, but with the emphasis on not dying, and on acting as if I was going to carry on living.
Pakistan has to export a lot of uneducated people, many of whom have become infected with the most barbaric reactionary ideas.
I've proved to be as difficult to convert as I am to hypnotize.
Even with all the advantages of retrospect, and a lot of witnesses dead and gone, you can't make your life look as if you intended it or you were consistent. All you can show is how you dealt with various hands.
I don't envy or much respect people who are completely politicised.
The Koran shows every sign of being thrown together by human beings, as do all the other holy books.
Of course, I do everything for money.
Lovers often invest their first meetings with retrospective significance, as if to try to conjure the elements of the numinous out of the stubborn witness of the everyday.
The violence in the Bible is appalling.
In one way, I suppose, I have been 'in denial' for some time, knowingly burning the candle at both ends and finding that it often gives a lovely light.
In one way, I suppose, I have been "in denial" for some time, knowingly burning the candle at both ends and finding that it often gives a lovely light. But for precisely that reason, I can't see myself smiting my brow with shock or hear myself whining about how it's all so unfair: I have been taunting the Reaper into taking a free scythe in my direction and have now succumbed to something so predictable and banal that it bores even me.
You notice how liberals keep saying, 'If only Islam would have a Reformation' -- it can't have one. It says it can't. It's extremely dangerous in that way.
I must have been one of the least surprised people on earth on September 11. I felt very braced for that. I knew something like that was going to come.
I still think like a Marxist in many ways.
It's surprising to me how many of my friends send Christmas cards, or holiday cards, including my atheist and secular friends.
Chemotherapy isn't good for you.
For the people who ostensibly wish me well or are worried about my immortal soul, I say I take it kindly.
One of the great questions of philosophy is, do we innately have morality, or do we get it from celestial dictation? A study of the Ten Commandments is a very good way of getting into and resolving that issue.
The Islamists will try to spoil everything for everyone.
I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient.
Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and -- since there is no other metaphor -- also the soul.
When we talk about mortality, we are talking about our children.
George Bush made a mistake when he referred to the Saddam Hussein regime as 'evil.' Every liberal and leftist knows how to titter at such black-and-white moral absolutism.
My favorite time in the cycles of public life is the time when the Pope is dead and they haven't elected a new one. There's no one in the world who is infallible for those weeks. And you know, I don't miss it.